Racing his siblings to the back porch door, Morgan opened the heavy portal and entered the dark interior. They had spent the day tobogganing down the steep banks of the local “crick”. For once, Uncle Derrick had been less of a snowball-hurling terror and had spent the day helping them drag the heavy sled up the slick incline. Scruffy the cat looked suspiciously up from his meal as the three children passed the boot broom around. After hanging their coats, they entered the warm kitchen and placed their soggy wool mittens on the railing above the wood stove.
Grandpa looked up briefly from his gear-knitting and favoured the children with a slight nod, his version of hello when immersed in a task, a fragrant pipe clenched in his teeth. Aunt Ginny was moving busily about the kitchen, balancing her multiple tasks with practiced grace. The intoxicating smell of baking bread combined with the scent of savoury venison stew to make young stomachs rumble hungrily.
The telephone’s harsh jangle caused all heads to turn instantly, typical of any family where a loved one lay suffering in a distant bed. Morgan stepped closer, just in time to hear his father’s voice raised in response to the unheard message coming down the line. “It’s your mother, Morgan, she wants to talk to you first,“ Sylvanus spoke as he handed the receiver to his oldest son.
“Everything is OK, now, Morgan. I’ll be home in a couple of days. Don’t worry anymore. I love you! Now put your father back on,” Eleanor said. Morgan handed the phone back to his father, turned and shared a relived smile with Eric and Marie. Their Christmas miracle had really arrived. Mom would be home on Boxing Day.